Sharp latest to replace faulty Sony batteries

By Sarah Falson

TOKYO: The bad news isn’t over yet for Sony, with another reported 79,000 lithium ion batteries in notebook PCs sold around the world to be recalled due to overheating problems, representing the largest recall of its kind in the world.

According to various reports, 51,000 of these reside in Fujistu computers – making the total number of reported Fujistu notebooks to be recalled a whopping 338,000 after 287,000 were recalled earlier this month – and new contender Sharp is responsible for the remaining 28,000.

According to Adrian Mead, Fujitsu PC’s managing director in Australia, contrary to reports Fujitsu PC is not involved in a battery recall at all, but rather a “battery replacement program.” 

“The term battery recall is not accurate,” Mead told Current.com.au today.

“Fujitsu is taking up Sony’s offer to have the batteries replaced voluntarily.

“There has not been any issue with batteries in Fujitsu models to date, as experienced by Dell (batteries catching on fire or exploding). In Dell’s case it is a recall. In Fujitsu and many other vendors’ cases, it’s a voluntary replacement."

Six cases of Dell notebook computers overheating have been reported in North America since December 2005.

“Fujitsu users can still go ahead and use their laptops as normal. It is their choice to participate in the replacement program if they choose.”

At the time Current.com.au went to press, Mead wasn’t aware of more Fujitsu PC models being added to the battery replacement program, but he confirmed that the reports could “possibly” be true.

“Information is coming from Sony to us regularly. They have to provide dates of certain batches and models which are under the program. This information is a huge task as you can imagine as they are one of the largest battery suppliers to most manufacturers.”

Sharp Australia ceased distributing notebook computers earlier this year, so it is doubtful that any Sharp-notebook-owners in Australia will be affected.

The company wasn’t available for comment today, but Kyodo News in Japan reported that Sharp spokesperson, Mamoru Wakamatsu, confirmed that Sharp was recalling 28,000 Sony batteries which were installed in its laptops for the Japanese market, under its PC-MR Mebius series. Replacements will accordingly be offered from October 20.

Though reports of overheating Sharp and Fujitsu PC notebooks have not been heard, the batteries they use are similar to those used in IBM’s Lenovo brand, which last month reported that one of its ThinkPad T47 models had caught on fire at Los Angeles airport.

These latest announcements bring the total number of Sony lithium ion batteries subject to recall and voluntary replacement to over 7.5 million worldwide. Nearly every major notebook manufacturer has now been burned, including Dell, Toshiba, Apple Computers and Lenovo.

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